Ahhhh, Caillou. What can I say? We have several of these Caillou paperback storybooks at home – each based on an episode of the children’s television show. The simple text and illustrations (filled out in bold primary colors) are easy for young children to follow. Importantly, they are engaging for our youngest – if we can start reading time with an engaging storybook we typically have an easier transition to extended read-aloud, winning us some extra reading time together. This particular book was one included in a set we bought while on vacation to read on the plane: “Caillou – My Storytime Box”. (This set includes a book where Caillou rides on a plane and can be great for normalizing the experience of flying for first time flyers. “The Noisy Airplane Ride” is another book we like for this same purpose.)
“The Hiding Place” of tonight’s book is a hollowed-out tree in the back yard at Caillou’s grandparents’ house. Caillou hides out there with his dinosaurs, and learns that what he thought was his secret hiding place was actually a favorite hideout for his father when he was a little boy. It’s pretty standard Caillou fare, although for anyone looking to add some Caillou books to their home library, I would not recommend this story. We did not like the fact that Caillou at one point yells at his little sister, telling her she can’t come to his hideout. He leaves her crying, seems to suffer no remorse, and is not corrected by any of the adults in the story. I’m not generally a fan of Caillou and his four-year-old foibles, but this particular incident was a bridge too far for me.